HE MISSION SERVICES Community Outreach office
frequently receives calls from the community and from Associates
who are in need of information on how to access social services.
One day we were contacted by a woman named Maria, who worked in
the Housekeeping Department of our hospital. She wanted our help
in obtaining a leg prosthesis for her husband, Juan.
age 62, had lost a limb in July 2002, due to an infection as a complication
of his diabetes. He previously worked mowing lawns and was no longer
able to do so.
He moved about with crutches, but he so wanted to have a prosthesis
so that he could walk and work again. Juan and Maria were also raising
two grandchildren, and their resources were limited. Juan was too
young to qualify for Medicare, and his present health care coverage
would not cover a prosthesis that cost thousands of dollars.
I met with Maria and felt there had to be some way to help her husband.
He was feeling so helpless and was so unhappy with his inability
to work and to move about.
After contacting numerous agencies in the community and across several
states, I found an organization called Limbs for Life in Oklahoma
City, a nonprofit agency that provides financial assistance to people
in need of a prosthesis. Although the agency has limited financial
resources, it does provide some help for those in need.
Juan met the qualifications to receive a small amount of financial
assistance to purchase the prosthesis. We knew we would still need
a lot more money to make his dream a reality, however. One question
on the application asks what the applicant would like to do that
he or she cannot presently do. Juan stated that he prayed to be
able to walk on his own with his grandchildren and to be able to
mow lawns again.
I then called local brace and limb companies for pricing information
and possible additional financial assistance. After crossing many
hurdles, I spoke with a prosthetist with NASA Brace and Limb, who
listened to my story and decided to get approval from his employer
to help Juan. The prosthetist made home visits to check on Juan
in order to make certain that he could be properly fitted for the
device. It was during these visits that he saw how much Maria and
Juan needed his help. During the weeks and months that it took to
finalize the request, we all prayed. In the end, the prosthetist
was able to fit Juan by accepting only the financial assistance
that Limbs for Life would provide. There would be no cost to Juan
and his family.
Needless to say, we were all thrilled with the outcome. Maria called
to tell me that Juan now had his new “leg,” and that
he would stop by and show me how he could walk again very soon.
Sarah Deacon, RN
CHRISTUS St. John Hospital
Nassau Bay, Texas